News Desk: Neeraj Murmu, a former child labourer was on Wednesday conferred with the prestigious 2020 Diana Award instituted in the memory of the late Princess of Wales, in a virtual ceremony.
He was chosen for the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social and humanitarian effort.
Hailing from Giridih in Jharkhand, Murmu was rescued from the state’s mica mines in 2011 and later his village became a child-friendly village (Bal Mitra Gram), a flagship programme of Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. The award is conferred by the charity of the same name and has the support of the late princess’ two sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.
“We are proud that he has taken up great initiatives such as promoting education among former child labourers,” said P Nagasayee Malathy, who is executive director (Programmes), Bal Mitra Gram, a KSCF department.
Malathy also added, “He is a role model for many children in our BMGs where each child is a strong leader and are empowered to assert their rights and fight for their village development alongside adults”.
BMG is a grassroots initiative that promotes child-centric village development in which empowerment of children is the key. It aims to build safety nets around children by providing access to quality education to ensure that children are not employed, married or exploited, by empowering parents and communities so they could stand up for their children’s rights and by engendering a protective community in which all stakeholders work together to ensure children’s safety and freedom.
After his rescue, he went on to establish a local school to ensure that all children were able to access the right to education. Mumru has enabled 200 underprivileged children in his village to get education and has rescued 20 child labourers from mica mining and enrolled them in his school.
Murmu is also a member of the local youth group. He encourages the children to think about their aspirations and motivates them to continue to pursue their education in a state where the school dropout rate is high.
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